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Thread: Windows server security and stability question

  1. #1

    Windows server security and stability question

    I have been a power Windows and Linux user for a few years and have just been promoted to the IT manager of my company.

    We have a short list of vendors for both an HR and an accounting application and all the short list candidate software (about 6 options) runs on Windows 2003.

    I have an unused 4 CPU server that I could use, and I am tempted to install the two winners on the same box as they both seem to be CPU and memory light. I'd use the box to install other Windows apps depending on my success.

    In the Linux world I wouldn't be very concerned, but it is my first experience with Windows at the server level and I don't want to bitten.

    I know Windows security is supposed to be bad, but I haven't been paying much attention as to why because it hasn't been my primary job responsibility till now.

    What are the typical short comings with Windows servers the way I want to use these applications. What should I look for in terms of potential trouble spots? Security, stability etc.

    A friend told me that it would be better to have each application run as a separate VM ware instance, but wouldn't go into the details.

    I know its a lot to ask, but any help or personal experiences would really be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Study up on security templates, registry changed for SAM enumeration, group/domain policies, user/group/domain permissions, and learn to use the MBSA like your life depended on it.
    arrogance breeds ignorance

    Screaming Electron, Full of BSD Goodness

  3. #3
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    To be honest, I don't think Windows by itself is insecure. As long as you keep security updates uptodate, then you should be okay. Also, is that server going to have direct access from the web? The only problem I have with Windows server is its frequency of fixing bugs. There are known security holes MS don't even bother to fix just because they are low risk. I don't like that.

    Other than that if it's on quad processor with enough memory, you should do fine. I had one Win2K server with almost a year uptime on it so don't believe in hype. The trick is to schedule regular reboot at wee hours and making sure the box come back up intact. Now, THAT'S the hard part.
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  4. #4
    Thanks for the tips.

    I think my friend's main concern with running multiple apps on a windows server was that sometimes different applications will require the same DLL file, but different versions of it, so there is the risk of things breaking when you do patches.

    Do you have any experience with this?

  5. #5
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    Personally what I would do is this:

    Setup a RHEL or CentOS rig with either Xen or VMWare server. Dole out a Win2k3 image out of each for each app. Create it so that another server hosts the data, so that if an image is hosed for whatever reason, you can restore from a master copy or a snapshot.

    If this sounds appealing but need more clarification, pm me. We can talk.

  6. #6
    We use to do that for our server development. Works great, but we used VMware Player.
    arrogance breeds ignorance

    Screaming Electron, Full of BSD Goodness

  7. #7
    Thanks. My team is giving me very similar advice.

    Your independent opinion has made the decision much easier. We're going to start testing by the end of the year.

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